Oct 232014

Welcome back to Micro Bookends. For MB1.02 you gave us some brilliant interpretations of the photo prompt and creative uses of the bookends. Let’s see what you can do with this week’s offerings.

It is well known that a vegetarian diet has numerous health benefits including a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and various types of cancer, lower body weight, lower cholesterol levels, and higher life expectancy. Then of course there’s the environmental impact of a meat-based diet. Livestock production contributes 18% of all green-house gases, second only to energy production (21%). And I’m not even going to mention the ethical argument. These are all great reasons to pursue a meat-free lifestyle. But bacon.

Someone who eschews all animal-based protein is ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic who celebrates his 55th birthday today. In 1996 Weird Al got into a tiff with bad boy rapper Coolio over Al’s Amish Paradise parody of Collio’s Gangsta’s Paradise, itself a reworking of Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise. Coolio claimed Al’s parody had “desecrated the song.” The two later made up with Coolio admitting his objections to the parody were “stupid” and that the song was actually funny.

Join me in a rendition of For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow for Weird Al with this weeks photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Forsaken Fotos via CC.

Photo Credit: Forsaken Fotos via CC.

Judging this week’s contest is Carlos Orozco, winner of MB1.02. Read his winning story here, and what he has to say about flash fiction here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with MEAT and ending with FREE and incorporating the photo prompt.


Anyone, but especially you!


Why not? Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘who is the the author’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.


Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).




Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

  107 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.03 – MEAT [micro] FREE”

  1. The Fabulous Butcher Boy

    Meat, stacked in columns within the village larder; the interior as bitter as the winter that lay beyond the door. Stepping outside, his breath a chain of clouds, William hefted another crimson-flecked sack from the wagon onto his shoulders.

    The contents smelled reassuringly of jasmine and peppermint. Unwittingly William pressed his face into the sackcloth.

    Snapshots erupted within William’s mind: summer meadows, golden hair, soft lips, whispered desires.


    Her fault.

    Too slow, too trusting.

    He had Frannie now, plain conniving Frannie.

    Tears spilled, Will understood this was grief, the elders had warned it would come.

    Yet he mustn’t forget to remain grateful.

    For wasn’t he one of the free?


    110 words

  2. Cat on the menu

    ‘Meat eating is not allowed young David, you know the rules.’ Mary shouted from the supply shed. David shifted uneasily on the cart, wiping the cricket leg away from his mouth. The handful of breakfast oats never filled his aching stomach.

    He craved peeling skin like an orange, revealing the long, muscular strips of meat. Mind you, Uncle Bart’s left thigh was awful. He’d been dead far too long, he didn’t taste good. Birds were tricky to catch. Crickets were easy.

    He stared longingly at the farmyard cat. Picking it up, he felt the scrawny leg meat slippery under its superfluous skin. Frightened by his desires, he set it free.

    (110 words)
    hungry #flashdog

  3. Title: Fresh
    Words: 110

    “Meat!” the Madam in the bandanna shouted. We children gathered and stood clumped in a pile as the women walked around us. We tried avoiding eye contact with the surveyors. One woman wearing glasses straightened our hats and collars, touched our faces and checked our teeth.

    “Fresh meat, indeed,” she said grinning “Six boys, one girl. Send them inside.”

    We piled through the wooden doors and where seasoned workers stared at us hungrily.

    “I am Madam Henrietta. We have paid a high price for individuals with your particular…features. You will work off the debt, if you charge less than silver for your services you may as well work for free.”

  4. Free Lunch
    101 words

    “Meat, cheese, and wine,” Steven said. “Picnic of champions.”

    Jeff was fidgeting. He looked at Steven, opened his mouth, closed it again.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “What? Nothing.”


    “It’s just…my mom always said there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

    Steven wanted to punch Jeff’s mom in the nose. It was her fault he had this incessant need to break even. He’d even felt guilty when Steven gave him a birthday present.

    Fortunately, Steven had come up with a solution that would satisfy both parties.

    He laid his hand on Jeff’s thigh and squeezed.

    “Who said anything about it being free?”

  5. Walking in Antarctica
    100 words

    Meat is the way. Flesh, don’t fail me now.

    The suits, waiting in the lockers. We put them on to walk the ice, bright under the brilliant sky.

    Exposed skin freezes without protection. Fuel turns to jelly. Metal behaves differently, too. This is like another world.

    One becomes aware of warm breath, blood pumping. Dreams of branching tropical rivers, memories of bodies entwined. No, not here.

    Here is cold as the space between the stars. Here, the rocks fall from the sky. We search for familiar patterns, ancient proteins embedded in dry rivers of stone.

    Life, even here, set free.

  6. The Dirt

    Meat, preparation of scrapple specifically, is my morning task. I woke well before the chickens and dawn’s golden glow. While stewing scraps of pork, I daydream. Remembered images of last March’s Mud Sale linger.

    People travel many miles to sample our breads, stews, and chutney while they peruse our crafts and quilts made by hand. I prefer faces. I study them, slopes, hollow curves, narrow eyes, wide chins. There’s a story in every one.

    Weathered faces are my favorite, all the feathered lines as if you can smell their forgotten childhood laughter and the acrid heartache that has taken its place.

    “How much?” the wrinkled woman asked.

    I smiled. “Free.”

    110 words

  7. Uprooting (110 words)

    Meat monsters. Red-blooded meat poured into work boots, three-piece suits, and wedding dresses. Race, class, and sexual orientation made no difference once the meat came off the bone.

    Close to the earth like we were, living off its flesh, I understood we couldn’t claim righteousness. It wasn’t enough to not slaughter the cow or abstain from meat blood between our teeth.

    That’s why my left arm’s in a wood chipper. Churning my flesh out; the machine was grinding and whirring.

    It hurt, but we’d been trampling on the earth’s belly for 10,000 years. We were the worst kind of meat.

    Least I could do to set the earth free.


    Brian S Creek
    100 words

    “meat fresh got We’ve.” Abigail said, “everyone Places.”

    village the into road main the up drove bus tourist A.

    “die will you then And. day passing each with younger and younger grow to continue will you then, man fellow our of flesh the consume don’t you if, rules the follow don’t you if and cursed been have we but choice a got all You’ve.” continued she, “too you of rest the for Goes.”

    adult an to had kids the thing closest the was she village the in eldest the As. Abigail said, “Hoffman Master, like you what do to Free.”

  9. Brilliant, just brilliant.

    • Many thanks. I’ve been doing Flash fiction for a good few months now and I’m starting to push myself. Looks like MicroBookEnds is where I show my ‘experimental’ side. Glad you liked.

  10. “Meat is our right—Hand me that mallet—as top of the food chain.”

    “Dad, you know I hate coming to these places. It’s gross.”

    “No spawn of mine’s gonna to graze with cattle. Where you supposed to get protein?”

    “They scream when they’re slaughtered. Flesh isn’t the only protein source.”

    “Cleaver—bigger one. You gonna build muscle from eating grass?”

    “Lamus won the quadrathalon; he’s vegetarian. Ew, Dad, take it easy.”

    “How can you enjoy a meal without a main dish?”

    “How can you enjoy a meal stuffed with toxins and lard?”

    “Ah, ha! See the plain-wrap? The specialized head packaging? Organically Amish. Eat up, son. It’s completely chemical-free.”

  11. Express Image

    101 words


    “Not ‘meat’, meat-head. Cheese!”

    “Ok, ok. Got that from your English girl, I guess?”

    “She has a name, Dorcas. A lovely name. Ruth. And Ruth would very much like a picture.”

    “Eli, you know that’s all kinds of wrong, don’t you? You get caught with that thing and I won’t be able to talk to you for weeks. Hasn’t Hannah told us over and over in scripture class about Exodus 20:4?”

    “Never mind that, Dorcas. I’m dreaming of John 8:32.”

    “I give up. Go on, remind me.”

    “And I shall know Ruth, and Ruth shall make me free!”

    • Brilliant Ed. Really clever. Enjoyed the twist on John 8:32!

    • Good stuff, Ed.

      Clever use of biblical references. I can imagine Amish folk doing this sort of thing all the time. (Or maybe that’s just stereotyping: I’m not John Book, though I am looking at the Book of John in bible study…)

      Looks like we came up with a similar take on the prompt: two consecutive entries – what’s the chances, eh? For mine, I had a working title of “You And Whose Amish?”. I changed it just before posting then went back to read other entries. I suspected that Exodus 20:4 would be another parallel before I looked it up!

    • Ha! I like the dueling use of scripture–animated with a puny twist.

  12. Graven Image
    “‘Meat store’, Grampy?” she said. “Thought you wuz a veti-…”
    “Vegetarian. I am, Becca. What have you found?”
    He saw the creased Polaroid, its faded hand-written caption, and his heart flipped.
    “It… it says ‘Me at store’, sweetie,” he managed to whisper. “That’s me on the cart.”
    “The boys have funny hats,” she giggled. “They school uniform?”
    “A uniform of sorts. I used to be Amish.”
    “Army? You were a soldier?”
    He smiled wrily. “No, Becca, just the opposite.”
    Turning over the photo Kathryn had secretly given him that day, he saw again the phone number she’d written.
    He’d known even then.
    One day he would have to break free.

    110 words

    • Hey Geoff! I had to stop myself from reading all the earlier entries for fear of some overlap, then you come along an hour or so later! Must admit I was thinking more of a smartphone than a Polaroid. Did you find yourself wondering who actually took that photo? My first idea, oddly enough, was that they were school kids in a strange new uniform. Great minds, ahem?

    • love the idea of a photo being the catalyst for the narrative, really well implemented …

    • Beautiful story, Geoff. As IR said, great idea to use the photo as part of the story.

      I also loved Becca’s confusion with the words. Nicely done.

    • I love how you set up two contrast here: the one between generations represented by the relationship between Becca and her grandfather, and the one between Amish and secular life, all pivoting around the photograph. The misinterpretations from Becca are tiny catalysts for the grandfather’s memories.

  13. Love this idea! So sorry I missed the deadline – as a vegan, this would have been perfect for me. Lol

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.